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  saxtaken from in February 2001
in the United Kingdom
* Esterbrook Pens was created in 1856 by a Cornish Quaker, Richard Esterbrook. He was a stationer by trade and had seen in Britain the move from hand cut Quill pens to the steel nibs with their consequent advantages. He was also a wise businessman with an eye for opportunity and saw that there was no steel nib manufacturer in the U.S.A., a vast expanding potential market, and he therefore recruited 5 craftsmen from the John Mitchell factory in Newhall Street, Birmingham and set up operations in the town of Camden, New Jersey, U.S.A. (an early example of the Brain Drain ?)

*The initial company was named the United States Steel Pen Manufacturing Company, later being changed to the Esterbrook Steel Pen Manufacturing Company.

* Detailed attention to the Market's needs and a population explosion led the company from strength to strength until at the end of the Century Esterbrook vied with Perry & Co. as to who was the largest manufacturer of pen nibs in the world.

* By 1896 the Company saw further expansion possibilities in the United Kingdom and thereby appointed as their U.K. agents Hazell, Watson and Viney Ltd. Development of the product range continued apace and whereas steel pen nibs had been used with the traditional ink wells, making the necessary accessories rather cumbersome, 1920 saw Esterbrook introduce a Fountain pen with, of course, its own self-contained ink supply.

* U.K. Government regulations in 1928 led to restrictions on the import of products from the United States and a Licensing arrangement was made with John Mitchell's in Birmingham to make Esterbrook Pens in the United Kingdom. Mitchell's having transferred their operations to a new factory in Moland Street in 1912.

* Hazell, Watson and Viney continued as Selling Agents and introduced the Esterbrook Fountain Pen into Britain in 1930. Although Fountain Pens had been widely available for many years, it wasn't until that year that Esterbrook felt that they had a nib material which would produce a truly practical pen and replace the Gold and jewel tips. This material was the precious metal Iridium used under the Trade Name of Duracrome. Again such an immensely successful product range that the company was reorganised to meet the demand as Esterbrook Hazell Pens Ltd.

* War-time hostilities curtailed production to some extent and the night of November 19-20th 1940 saw the Moland Street factory struck by incendiary bombs on the Bagot Street side. (An anecdote of the time is that the fire-fighting party was having some success with a human bucket chain of water when inadvertently a bucket of paraffin used for degreasing nibs was passed along ...)

* Unusually the wing was rebuilt while the War was still on, but on the condition that 50 % of the premises were given over to Government Departments. One being rather appropriately The Stationery Office and the other the Defence Dept. where ammunition from the Kynoch Works at Witton was assayed.

* In 1947 the Company bought out John Mitchell (this company having been established in 1822 as the World's first manufacturer to cut nibs by machine) and the American Esterbrook Company acquired Hazell pens, the total organisation becoming The Esterbrook Pen Co.

* 1953 saw Esterbrook America take over Cushman & Denison, who had launched the Flo-Master refillable marker in 1951, and in 1960 Esterbrook Pens and Cushman & Denison in the U.K. were merged.

* The post war years had seen a decline in particularly the Export Trade to the traditional markets of the British Empire, as those countries had gained independence and, due to American Aid, had more Dollars to spend in the States on products than Pounds in the United Kingdom. Development work continued to reverse the significant fall-off in business and the years 1960 to 1967 saw a steady introduction of the Mark I versions of the products we know today: Valve Marker, Watercolour, Colourstick, Notewriter and Permanent Pen, all under the Gem brand name.

* 1967 saw The Esterbrook Pen Company worldwide taken over by the Venus Pencil Company and the formation of Venus Esterbrook. Production continued in Birmingham, with a gradual move of administration and manufacturing to the much newer factory of Venus in King's Lynn. The Birmingham building was finally vacated in March 1972 but is still standing.

taken from: (now Sanford UK)
February 2001

Osmiroid B2 Nib*INFORMATION about Osmiroid & Esterbrook interchangeable nibs, collected from alt.collecting.pens-pencils, Penlovers Bulletin Board, The Zoss List and Rambling Snail Forum... [click here]
Esterbrook*Esterbrook — Read about the Esterbrook Pens and Nibs.
osmiroid*Osmiroid — About Osmiroid Pens and Nibs.
berol*Berol Ltd — official website
sanford uk*Sanford UK has been formed by the
amalgamation of six separate companies. The Sanford product range now includes Parker Pens, Paper Mate, Berol, Waterman, Rotring and Sanford.
Click her for your favorite eBay items*eBay Search eBay auctions. Go to Collectibles > Pens & Writing Instruments > Pens > Fountain > Esterbrook
or search all categories for ESTERBROOK


BLAM design
Hans Presto

latest update 3-Nov-2004
this page's URL: /nibs/esterbrook02.html



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All images, characters, logos and trademarks are property of their respective owners and are used here either with permission or in an editorial fashion only. Content on this site is 1999-2004 BLAM®. Hans Presto is a Swedish lettering-artist and art-teacher. BLAM design supplies new and vintage steel pen nibs (pen points) to Scandinavian cartoonists and calligraphers. PLEASE NOTE This web site is not affiliated with the ESTERBROOK® company in any way. This is an independent site containing information about pens and calligraphy.

BLAM Esterbrook
KEYWORDS Esterbrook, Resterbrook, Esterbrock, Esterbrooks, R. Esterbrook, Easterbrook, Easterbrock, Reasterbrook, renew, point, points, nib, nibs, art, drafting, history, fountain pen, Camden, New Jersey, USA